U.S. News & World Report released its annual "Best Colleges" report Wednesday, whittling down more than 1,300 of the country's academic institutions to a definitive ranking of the 2014-15 year. Rank was determined by 16 different measures of academic quality, with the most emphasis on graduation and retention rates. The report also looked at endowment, financial resources, student selectivity and faculty resources.
Based on these standards, Princeton University maintained its No. 1 spot in the Best National University category and Williams College once again topped the Best National Liberal Arts College list. Among public schools, the University of California, Berkeley, placed first.
“Taking into account how well a school supports its students from freshman year through graduation is important,” said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer at U.S. News, in a statement. “To find the best fit, students should consider a range of factors, from financial aid offerings and location to campus size and majors. The process can be overwhelming, but our rankings and advice content are a great place to start.”
For the first time, the U.S. Naval Academy broke into the list of Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, ranking at No. 9 and pushing Haverford College out of the top 10. Schools such as Tulane University in New Orleans, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, saw significant jumps in the rankings to tie at No. 41. Tulane moved up from No. 54, and Wisconsin moved up from No. 47.
The rankings saw little movement among the top 10 Best National Universities -- only the University of Pennsylvania dropped to No. 9 from sharing the No. 8 spot with Duke University last year.
The complete list of top universities for 2016 can be seen here.
Best National Universities
1. Princeton University
2. Harvard University
3. Yale University
4. Columbia University
4. Stanford University
4. University of Chicago
7. Massachsetts Institute of Technology
8. Duke University
9. University of Pennsylvania
19. California Institute of Technology
Top Public Schools
1. University of California, Berkeley
2. University of California, Los Angeles
3. University of Virginia
4. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
5. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Best National Liberal Arts Colleges
1. Williams College
2. Amherst College
3. Swarthmore College
4. Bowdoin College
4. Middlebury College
4. Pomona College
4. Wellesley College
8. Carleton College
9. Claremont McKenna College
9. Davidson College
9. U.S. Naval Academy